On the night of March 1, 1932, the infant son of famed aviator Charles A. Lindbergh and his wife Anne Morrow, the daughter of a diplomat, was kidnapped from the family's hilltop estate in Hopewell, NJ. The ensuing investigation involved not only crime fighters at the highest levels, but also members of organized crime, small-time crooks and swindlers, politicians and hangers-on who surfaced from every quarter seeking their own measures of fame and fortune in the mournful glow of the flyer and his wife. A $50,000 ransom was paid, but the boy was not returned. Then, on May 12, 1932, the decomposed corpse of a child was found and identified as Charles Lindbergh, Jr. The search for the kidnapper or kidnappers continued until September 19, 1934, when Bruno Richard Hauptmann, a German ex-convict living in the Bronx with his wife and son, was arrested after passing a gold note traced to the ransom. What was known as the Crime of the Century was followed by the Trial of the Century. Hauptmann was convicted and after several appeals, died in New Jersey's electric chair as the sole perpetrator of the crime.
Nearly 50 years later, the deathbed confession of an old woman living in the Hudson Valley, and the subsequent discovery of a gun buried in the concrete floor of the chicken coop behind her house, lead to a plausible explanation not of who actually committed the crime -- but of who didn't. And that's what "Sleeping Dogs" is about.